baby boy birthday

Derby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Sized Car Travel Mat Tutorial

Travel Car Mat Tutorial

As I prepare to fly cross-country with my 18-month old son, I am planning one of the most challenging parts of our trip… What we might do on the plane from San Diego to Boston. He’s just recently started to take an interest in cars and I thought making one of these fun car mats sized just for an airline tray table would be perfect for the trip.

There are tons of these available for sale online but I found it only took a couple hours to make and was easily made from scraps lying around the house. I bought a couple of dollar store matchbox cars and VOILA! For just a few dollars I had a great travel toy ready for my airplane arsenal of activities.

Listed below you’ll find your fabric needs. I listed the basic idea of what the fabric is for and then what kind I used in this project. Any of these could really be any fabric at all so feel free to get creative. I figured some heavier fabrics would make it a bit more durable and long lasting.

SUPPLY LIST
Back Fabric: Striped Colorful Canvas (17”x10”)
Top Fabric: Green Leaf-Patterned Cotton (17”x10”)
Car Slot Fabric: Turquoise Corduroy (2x 8”x10”)
Road Fabric: Gray Suiting (2x 2”x10”)
Yellow Fabric: Yellow Cotton (Very little)
Wonder Under Fusible
Additional Accents and Appliques (Optional): Orange Robots

I did some searching around on the internet and found that not all planes have the exact same tray table size but there seemed to be some conscious that 16.5”x9.5” was average so I sized everything for this play mat off of that. You could certainly make it bigger or smaller and just tweak your dimension. You’ll want about 2-3” of width for each car slot. This mat has 6 car slots.

CUT & PREPDerby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel MatDerby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel Mat
To begin, you’ll want to prep cut all your fabric for the project. I cut out the Top and Back and Car Slot fabric all to the exact sizes list above. I cut anything that will be appliqued on slightly larger than I will use and iron on my Wonder Under before cutting. I like to cut everything on a healing mat with a ruler and a rotary cutter. It is the only way I am able to get nice clean lines.

CAR SLOTS
You’ll want to do all parts of the top play mat surface first which would be the car slots, roads and any top applique. We’ll start preparing the car slots. Fold the Car Slot Fabric in half lengthwise with your right sides facing out, then press so now you have a 4”x10” piece of fabric. Then you’ll divide your piece into thirds however you’ll want to allow for a ¼” seam allowance on either side. You can easily do 3.5”, 3” and then 3.5” to use nice easy measurements or be more exact with your thirds and allowance if you prefer. Press along those measurements so that you will have guides for your car slots and appliques. You’ll be doing this for both of your pieces you cut, one for each end.

APPLIQUE
After the car slot fabric was properly pressed to show the sizing for each compartment, I added an applique on each end. This step is completely optional but I felt it made it more personalized and special. I frequently use scraps of this Robot Factory fabric in my son’s projects b/c it is super cute and it a really fun color and makes it so all of his stuff is uniquely his. I roughly cut out the shape I wanted then fused my Wonder Under and then cut my more precise piece to the exact size I wanted.

Derby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel MatTIP: When using Wonder Under in projects pull up a corner of the fusible backing before you finish cutting the exact shape. It keeps you from fraying the fabric after it is cut and you need to remove the backing. So in the example shown here, I ironed on the fusible, cut three sides, then pulled off some of the backing on the bottom and then cut my final side so the edge would be nice and clean.

I finished off my Robot applique by pressing it on keeping the ¼” seam allowance in mind when aligning it (so it was slightly more inward than center) and then finished the edge with a zigzag stitch.

Derby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel MatYou can now pin the Car Slots into place with your raw (unfolded edge) lined up with the end of the Top Fabric (mine is the green leaf print). Then you’ll want to sew along your two creases you made as marks for you car slots. Backstitching several times at the folded end since that is the part that will get the most wear. I also did a stich on the outer edge that was just less than 1/8” allowance so it would be inside the finished seam allowance.

Derby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel MatDerby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel MatNext for the road, I do all the same Wonder Under techniques and laid out a road pattern that looked pleasing to me before I did any ironing or stitching.  I cut one strip of the road in half and made it so the cars would come out of their “garage” and onto the road. Get creative here. You could do as many or few roads as you like. Rotary, traffic lights, stop signs, whatever your kid is into or sounds rad to you!  So the steps are attach fusible, cut to size, lay out all roads (Gray Suiting Fabric), iron into place and lastly follow it up with a zigzag stitch to keep it secure through future washings.

Derby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel MatDerby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel MatThe yellow dashes were much more labor intensive and I’m honestly not sure if I would do them again. Again, attaching Wonder under on the back, then using the rotary cutter to make the little lines.  I used tweezers to work with the tiny pieces and put them in place, ironing them on one at a time. I put a tight zigzag stitch down the middle of each one. I found that I wasn’t doing great with the backstitching/knotting/any technique I tried for these tiny bits so I went ahead and just ironed on some one-sided fusible over the back to make sure that my poor backstitches seams wouldn’t come loose with wear.

Derby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel MatThis is when my son got up from his nap and came in to “help” out a bit.

STRAP CLOSURE
This is now the time to make your strap. You could do one long piece that goes all the way around. You could do two shorter pieces of fabric or ribbon that meet in the middle. You could hand tie it, snap it, Velcro it, whatever is pleasing to you.

Derby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel MatIDerby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel Mat only had a couple of small scraps left of my green fabric so I went with two straps that wrapped around with a Velcro closure. This is also where I chose to add a custom label. I don’t do anything fancy, just an iron-on on a piece of ribbon but as my kids get older it will show them they were handmade, one-of-a-kind, just for them as opposed to a store-bought toy.

I folded and pressed my piece of fabric in half and then half again so there wouldn’t be any raw edges and then sewed all the way around to make a nice clean strap. Then I secured zelcros on either side.

You will secure the raw end (or ends) of your strap(s) down with the raw edge facing the same side as the top fabric raw edge so when you sew the top to bottom it will be sandwiched in between. I chose to put my straps right in the middle so when I folded up my loaded car mat it would be right in the middle. You can baste it right near the edge (smaller than ¼” seam allowance) so they stay in place for the next step.

FINISHING IT UP!
Derby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel MatOnce you have completed your straps you’ll make your layer sandwich so your right sides are both facing in of the Back Fabric and your Top Fabric with all its appliques and pockets and straps and whatnot. You’ll want to leave a couple inches gap that is unsewn so you can turn it right side out.

TIP: A pin facing perpendicular to your normal direction at the open and close of the slot will help keep you from accidentally closing it up. In my early projects, I frequently had to seam rip a gap back in to turn the project. Doh!

Then turn the project right side out and top stich all the way around. I played around with it and found it worked out best for me to fold the car slots over first on each side and then roll it into thirds. Secure your strap and TA DA! Yer done! Add a couple of cars and you have made a beautiful handmade toy for your young child to enjoy on a plane or a travel location of their choice!

BON VOYAGE!Derby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel MatDerby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel MatDerby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel MatDerby Mom 360: Airplane Tray Car Travel Mat

 

Derby Mom 360: Nautical Cake Topper Bunting

Cake Topper Bunting for Nautical Themed Party

I wanted to stick with the nautical theme for this party as best I could so I wanted to do some sort of cake topper that went with the rest of the nautical look.  A miniature bunting seemed like a great way to do that!

CAKE TOPPER BUNTING SUPPLIES:
PRINTED PAPER
EXACTO KNIFE & MAT
SCISSORS
RULER
GLUE
STRING
STRAWS

Below is a printable PDF of the bunting.  There is one set of flags that says “Baby is one” so you don’t need to do any extra work to make that topper.  There is a second set of blank flags which you can add your own letters.   I used Hagin Caps Medium font which I thought looked very cute with this theme.  You can print the flags as they are and then write the letters by hand.  You could cut out and glue letters on. Or for those of you more graphically inclined you could use any page layout program to add the letters on the computer and then print them out already to go.  Whatever method suits your still set.  Here are the files you’ll need:

Printable Cake Topper Flags
Font – Hagin Caps Medium

For me, it was easiest to just layout all the letters on the computer. I printed out all my flags on regular copy paper. Cutting these flags out is a bit tough because they are so miniature. You may find it easiest to cut these out with an Exacto knife and a ruler. It’s a great way to make very straight lines but if you don’t have a craft knife, scissors will do just fine.

Derby Mom 360: Nautical Cake Topper BuntingNow you’re ready to start attaching your bunting. I chose to hang my banner in two lines but there’s no reason why you can’t string it all in one either. It just depends on the size of your cake.

First, you’ll cut a piece of string a few inches longer than your cake.  Then layout you diamond shaped flags in the order you want to them out.  It may be helpful to start from the center of your string with the middle most flag and work your way out to evenly space them.  The flags are diamond shape so you can fold them in half over the string.  Then add a tiny dot of Elmer’s glue and press it tightly for 5-10 seconds.  Then move onto the next flag.

Once all your flags are glued on, you’ll take your straws and place them at a distance and angle you like in your cake.  Then tie off each string very gently to the straw.  I chose to use paper straws because I had some that went with my theme.  If you don’t have any, you could also use a wooden skewer, a chopstick or anything else you can dig up around the house.

Up close your topper may not look perfect, but once it’s placed in your cake it will all come together and look great.  The flags are very tiny for this project so be patient with the process and be sure to print an extra set in case the first attempt doesn’t work out.

That’s it!  Topper complete.  I grabbed a random Hanukkah candle to match my color scheme.  No need for a big fancy candle since your topper is really the star here.

Derby Mom 360: Nautical Cake Topper BuntingLET THEM EAT CAKE!

Derby Mom 360: Nautical Bunting

Bunting for Nautical Themed Party

Buntings, also known as banners or pennants, are a fun way to dress up a party, to use as an all-the-time decoration in your child’s room or even just  in the background of a photo shoot.  You could make them from paper, fabric or some other material entirely.  I chose to go the quick and easy way from this project and print them on paper.

BUNTING SUPPLIES:

PRINTED PAPER
CARDSTOCK
SPRAY ADHESIVE
ROTATORY CUTTER & MAT
SCISSORS
RULER
HOLE PUNCH
JUTE (OR ANY STRING)

Below is a printable PDF with twelve flags for this bunting.  Two flags have a picture (an anchor and a boat) that I used at the beginning and end of the shorter words.  The other 10 designs all have a white circle in the middle to put your letters.  I used Hagin Caps Medium font which I thought looked very cute with this theme.  You can print the flags as they are and then write the letters by hand.  You could cut out and glue letters on. Or for those of you more graphically inclined you could use any page layout program to add the letters on the computer and then print them out already to go.  Whatever method suits your still set.  Here are the files you’ll need:

Printable Nautical Bunting
Font – Hagin Caps Medium

For me, it was easiest to just layout all the letters on the computer. I printed out all my flags on regular copy paper and then used spray adhesive to attach them to card stock. Then with a ruler and rotary cutter, cut out each triangle flag. It’s a great way to make very straight lines but if you don’t have a rotary or a craft knife, scissors will do just fine. If your printer can print on card stock, you can do that and skip the spray adhesive entirely.

Derby Mom 360: Nautical BuntingNow you’re ready to start stringing your bunting. I chose to hang my banner in three lines but there’s no reason why you can’t string it all in one either.

First, get your hole punch and put two holes in every flag, one near the top right point and one near the top left point.  Then layout your flags as you’d like them to read.  Here’s how I did mine:

Anchor-H-A-P-P-Y-Boat

B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y

Boat-M-O-S-E-S-Anchor

Figure out about how long you’ll want your jute and add 4 feet or so to that so you’ll have plenty to work with.  Start with your last flag first.  So I’d string “Boat” and push it all the way down to the end.  Then “Y” and push it all the way down to the boat with about two inches of space in between.

Through trial and error and some great help from my sister-in-law, we figured out that it was best for us not to tie a knot to hold the flags in place.

The jute keeps them from sliding around too much.  If you just string them all up with no knots, when you hang them you can still move them around a little bit, which worked out best for us.

Derby Mom 360: Nautical BuntingFINISHED!

After you’ve strung all three, space all the flags out evenly and you’re good to go!  If you hang the bunting by the jute and not the flags, the banner will remain in great condition and you can reuse it for many events to come.
Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed Party

Pinwheels for Nautical Themed Party

Pinwheels are a fun and playful addition to any party!  These make such a cute table accent, party favor or just a project for the kids.  You could make these for any themed party.  I chose to print nautical designs for this party.

Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartyPINWHEEL SUPPLIES:​
DECORATIVE PAPER
SEWING PINS
PAPER STRAWS (OR PENCILS)
ROTATORY CUTTER & MAT
SCISSORS
RULER
NEEDLE-NOSE PLIERS
ELMER’S GLUE

For a more premium looking pinwheel, you’ll want to print something different on each side of the paper.  For this design I did navy strips or anchors on one side and sold yellow on the other side.  You can download my full page designs here:

Printable: Blue Anchors on Gold
Printable: White Anchors on Blue
Printable: Blue Anchors on White
Printable: White & Blue Stripes

Printable: Blue Solid
Printable: Gold Solid

You’ll want to print out as many double sided pages on letter sized paper as you’d like to make pinwheels. They can be as large as 8″x8″ or as small as you’d like.

Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartyDerby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartyFirst, you’ll want to trim off any unprinted area on the page. My printer leaves about 1/8″ that is not printable space and needs to be cut off. I prefer to use a rotary cutter and ruler to get a clean line but scissors are also fine.

Once you have only your beautiful printed designs on both sides with no white edges, you’ll want to cut the sheet down to a square.  Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartyDerby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed Party5″x5″ makes a pretty nice sized pinwheel but you can play around with it.  Any size square will work.  For my party, I made a couple big ones and a couple of smaller ones.  If you go 4″x4″ or smaller you can make two per page.  For those who would rather trace a pattern, Oh Happy Day has a great printable pattern for pinwheels.

If you’re going the more free flow method, once you have your square, you’ll need to make slits to fold the points in.  You’ll start at one corner with the ruler laid flat and have it line up on a diagonal to the other corner so there is a 45 degree angle on either side of the ruler.  I made the cut about .5″ shorter than half a side.  Meaning if I did a 6″x6″ I made the slit about 2.5″ long.  The red lines on the image to the right show where I would cut.

Next you will fold every other point into the center.  So I don’t get confused, I fold in the point to the right of the cut on each corner.  Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartyDerby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartyAlso, when you fold them in, go a little passed the center mark with the point so you have enough to put the pin through to tack it down.  I found through trial and error it was a bit easier to primp the pin first and the poke it through the 5 layers of paper and then the paper straw.  I also found the pins with the round plastic heads looked a bit better than a traditional pin, though either will do just fine.

Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed PartySDerby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed Partyo once all 4 points are folded to the center area and have overlap, poke the pin through all points and the back layer and then through the paper straw.  I trimmed down the end of the pin with my wire cutters and then added a dab of Elmer’s glue to the exposed edge so that once the glue dried, there was a clear protective covering over that part which could be a bit scratchy and could also fall out with use.   If you choose to go with a pencil, you will not need to do the glue or the crimping, you’ll just poke it right into the eraser and cut the end down.  I had paper straws that were perfect for my theme so I decided to do the extra steps.

Derby Mom 360: Pinwheels for Nautical Themed Party

 

CONGRATULATIONS!

You have completed your first pinwheel!  Let the glue dry and you’re ready to use them!

Derby Mom 360: Paper Boats for Nautical Themed Party

Paper Boats for a Nautical Themed Party

These paper boats are a really fun touch to a nautical party and they do actually float! With sails, they can be a little less balanced but without sails you could put several in a bowl or bucket and make a game out of it.

PAPER BOAT SUPPLIES:
DECORATIVE PAPER
ROTATORY CUTTER & MAT
SCISSORS
RULER
ELMER’S GLUE
STRING
WOODEN SKEWER
TAPE

You’ll want to start with a decorative piece of paper.  Here are some fun full-page printable nautical patterns that will work great for these boats.  You can do the same design on both sides or switch them up.  There are two half sheets I used for sails and flags.

Printable: Blue Anchors on Gold
Printable: White Anchors on Blue
Printable: Blue Anchors on White
Printable: White & Blue Stripes

Printable: Blue Solid
Printable: Gold Solid

Printable: Blue & Gold Solid
Printable: Gold & White Sails 

Derby Mom 360: Paper Boats for a Nautical Themed PartyTo start, you will make a basic origami paper boat.  They look pretty good made from a sheet of letter sized paper or you can play around with the size and ratios.  Print up one of the full page patterns from the buttons above and then trim off any extra white on the edges.  I prefer to do this with a rotary cutter and a ruler but if you don’t have one you could just use scissors.

This site has a nice diagram of how to fold a boat.  You’ll want to fold a standard origami boat or any kind you’d like!  I did one or two on regular paper first before trying it with my fancier stuff. ​

The next step is the fun part, making the boat your own!  I added one sail and a string of flags to each bigger boat.

Derby Mom 360: Paper Boats for a Nautical Themed PartyTo apply the sail, you’ll need a mast.  Take one of your sewing pins from the last project and poke a hole in the high point of the boat to make a start hole.  Then you can poke the sharp end of the skewer through it.  Then cut the skewer down to your desired length.  I used electrical tape to attach the end to the inside underneath of the boat.

Then you’ll cut out a sail size of your choosing.   Making a bit of an curve to the shape instead of just a triangle makes it look like its sails are filled with wind.  I made a starter hole with a pin on the top and Derby Mom 360: Paper Boats for a Nautical Themed Partybottom of each sail.  then I threaded them threw the skewer doing my best not to stretch the holes out too much so the sail stays tight to it.

Next I made some flags for extra embellishment. First, glue the string down under a flap of the folded boat inside the hull.  Tie off the other under the sail near the top hole.  I added some Elmer’s on that knot so it wouldn’t slide down.  Fold a paper in half and cut out triangles with one side as the fold.  Then you can put a dab of glue inside and fold it over the string.  Play around with flags and sails to make your boat your own.Derby Mom 360: Paper Boats for a Nautical Themed Party

SHIPS AHOY!

Congratulations, you’re done.  These make great party favors, centerpiece accents or a fun photo shoot proper for a bath or kiddie pool.

Derby Mom 360: Nautical Themed Party

Nautical Themed Party Decor

Pinwheels, Boats & Buntings for a Themed Party

For my son’s first birthday, I wanted to do a themed party.  Nothing too cutesy or baby-ish.  Something for a little boy that was also fun for the adults present.  As a woman who loves almost anything that comes in navy stripes or has an anchor on it, I figured nautical was the way to go!

Here are some quick and easy how-to’s in order to host your own nautical themed party whether it be for a birthday or a just a festive summer BBQ.  Each tutorial has nautical themed printables so you’ll need very minimal supplies and design skills to make any of these projects.  Click on the pictures below to get started!

Paper Boats
Paper Boats: Sails & Flags
Pinwheels
Pinwheels: Stripes, Anchors & Solids
Bunting
Bunting: 12 Different Flag Patterns
Cake Topper
Cake Topper: Miniature Bunting